press release

This autumn, the Kunsthal will be presenting drawings, paintings and sculptures by Arie Schippers (1952), one of the most diverse Dutch artists of the last decades. Schippers’ oeuvre is rich in design, diverse in material and authentic in pen line and execution. He finds motives in his immediate surroundings, while travelling or at the zoo. He draws people, animals and landscapes in a wide range of circumstances, working from his observations or from memory. The exhibition ‘Paint Becomes Bird’ is an ode to imagination, from which Arie Schippers creates his majestic and intimate works. These range from imaginary portraits in clay to painted figures, and from contemporary landscapes in pencil to poetic animal fables in watercolours. In 1997, the Kunsthal also exhibited a series of paintings by Arie Schippers, ‘Nocturnes’, depicting modern cities at night.

From observing to dreaming For Arie Schippers, fiction and reality are inextricably linked. Fascinating interactions have emerged from the drawings, paintings and sculptures that have flowed from his imagination for the last four decades; interactions between tradition and innovation, between perception and fantasy, and between dream and cognition. The exhibition includes his urbanised landscapes - plein air paintings – of a contemporary Netherlands. And yet it is the ragged urban fringes that Schippers seeks to depict, from parked cars (with or without their attendant drivers loading up the boot with groceries) and petrol stations to shopping malls. Another series consists of ‘dreams’ on paper; Spanish group portraits derived from his fascination with paintings by Velazquez and Goya. Schippers is well aware of the long art tradition within which he works. His style of drawing is sometimes reminiscent of Ingres in their precision, but at other times sketchy in the style of the Impressionists and elegantly styled like the works of Matisse and Picasso.

The exhibition was compiled by Gijsbert van der Wal for the Fondation Custodia in Paris, where Schippers’ work was exhibited until March 9 this year. The exhibition at the Kunsthal is complemented by several paintings and sculptures, and a documentary by filmmaker Paul Kramer, who followed Arie Schippers in the run-up to the exhibition in Paris.

Arie Schippers Arie Schippers studied at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. In 1977, he won the Prix de Rome with a series of paintings depicting figures in cafes and restaurants. Since then he has made sketch books in which observations are recorded, compositions are tested and characters are born. His drawings form the linking factor in a layered oeuvre which is not particularly well known in the Netherlands. The artist Arie Schippers is a loner who, without a gallery or agent, and with an adversity to trends, observes, draws and, as artist Paul Klee once remarked, ‘takes his pencil out for walks.’

Publication The exhibition is accompanied by a publication entitled Tussen notitie en droom. Werk op papier van Arie Schippers by Gijsbert van der Wal, published by Fondation Custodia, Paris / De Weideblik, Varik, 2014 (159 pages, 30 x 22,5 cm, approx. 185 illustrations, bound, ISBN 978 90 77767 53 5, price: € 25.00